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the great debate? >>> making the grade. they advised george w. bush, al gore and sarah palin before their famous debates. with the stakes so high, what marks do our political insiders give these candidates? we'll tell you, in the "nightline" report card. >>> and, what's your percent? are you in the 47%? what does it take to be in the 1% of the 1%? this year, the percentage has taken on a life of its own, and we get right to the point. >> announcer: fromhe global resources of abc news, with terry moran, cynthia mcfadden and bill weir in new york city, this is a special edition of "nightline," one-on-one, the candidates debate, october 3rd, 2012. >> good evening, i'm terry moran. tonight, a high stakes showdown as president barack obama and mitt romney took the stage in denver to go head to head for the first time. an estimated 60 million americans tuned in to watch this critical moment in an often contentious presidential campaign with the election just 34 days away. crucial swing voters still undecided. with romney trailing in the polls, time running short, tonight could be his turn
george h.w. bush still won that race. >> george stephanopoulos, thank you very much. great to see you here on the set this morning. george has a big show this morning featuring romney campaign senior adviser ed gillespie and obama campaign senior adviser robert gibbs and also, of course, bill o'reilly, and george will also co-anchor along with diane sawyer our coverage of the vice presidential debate this thursday night, which will be moderated by abc's award-winning correspondent martha raddatz starting at 9:00 eastern, 6:00 pacific. >> looking forward to see martha moderate that debate. >>> for now the other top headlines. for that we go to ron. >>> we'll begin with new concerns coming out of syria about the civil war in that country. "the new york times" is reporting that saudi arabia and qatar are sending money and small arms to syria's rebels but are refusing to provide heavier weapons because of objections by the united states. officials say the u.s. government is worried that weapons like shoulder-fired missiles could end up in the hands of terrorists. >>> and meanwhile, syrian
happened to one of your former bosses, george w. bush, back in 2004. john kerry came in to the debates behind. took it to the president. the president recovkovcovered oe next few debates. what does the president's team say to him this morning? >> it's a dicey thing. it's easy to forget that these men are human beings. they're demoralized by a bad night. buoyed by a great night. you have to build them back up. and the reality sets in pretty immediately, for any candidate. they know when they've done a bad job. they know when they've de a good the good news for romney is he didn't just do himself a world of good for republicans. republicans feel like we have a guy that can win this. he managed to frame the debate that does a world of good with independent voters. framing this election as a choice. really, a philosophical debate with the specifics underneath him, of what we know that romney can do about the role in government in american life, which is something that republicans felt would put romney on solid ground. >> he seemed to reach beyond that conservative base and really talked to
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